Wolves big man Nikola Pekovic‘s surgically repaired right Achilles tendon continues to bother him, and he’s frustrated as a result while he plays his way back into shape, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes. “I’m still not pain-free. I’m still feeling pain,” Pekovic told Zgoda. “It’s kind of a little of everything. I’m just learning to play with pain again. That’s the biggest adjustment. And, of course, when you don’t play for 10 months, what do you expect? Come back in two games? It’s not possible.”
“We appreciate the fact that Pek’s dealing with something I can only imagine,” interim coach Sam Mitchell said regarding the center’s struggles. “He’s doing the best he can to play through it, play as much as he can and get his game back to as close as it was. If he can do that, it’d be a minor miracle and it’d help us out. We just take it day-by-day and whatever Pek can give us, we have to be appreciative of that.”
Here’s the latest from out West:
- The Grizzlies will have a difficult time extracting value out of Jeff Green and his expiring contract if they decide to deal him prior to the trade deadline, Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports opines in his deadline primer for Memphis. The team should hold onto point guard Mario Chalmers, who has solidified the position off the bench, and would likely come to regret parting ways with him down the stretch considering the lack of quality backup guards available around the league, Marks adds.
- Nuggets camp cut Matt Janning has signed with the Russian club Lokomotiv Cuban, the team announced (translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). International journalist David Pick notes (on Twitter) that Janning’s deal includes an option for 2016/17, though it is unclear if it is a team or player option.
- Kobe Bryant acknowledges that the Lakers‘ struggles this season have changed his approach and perspective, in this, his final year in the league, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. “It’s just us not being as competitive as we used to be has changed my role substantially,” Bryant said, “to be more of a teacher, more of a coach, to a person who understands more and has more patience in dealing with the young guys. It’s much, much different in that aspect.“